Archives for January 2014

Ce—lebrate Good Times, Come On!

If you hear someone screaming with excitement, it’s probably me! My new blog design is up, and I’m head over heels in LOVE with it! Isn’t it amazing?!?!

Ok, ok. I know you don’t care nearly as much as I do, but I was just so tired of the boring old WordPress template! I’m so stinkin’ excited to have something that is much more visually appealing.

May I add…if you need a blog upgrade or redesign, head over to Etsy and check out Sweeties Studio. Natalie was simply AH-mazing. I think our total message count back and forth was over 100! She was so patient with me and did everything I asked her to do…and more! And her prices CANNOT be beat!

I also recently hit 200 followers with my blog subscriptions and Bloglovin’ followers. In celebration of these two welcomed changes, I’m doing what all bloggers do–HOSTING A GIVEAWAY! 😉

4 fabulous bloggers and TpT sellers have agreed to give away products from their TpT stores. The best part…WINNER’S CHOICE!!


Paulas Place

Tara from 4th Grade Frolics, Nikki from Melonhedz, Paula from Paula’s Place, and Farley from Oh Boy 4th Grade have all graciously agreed to be a part of the giveaway. Be sure to stop by their blogs and tell them THANK YOU! **Feeling loved**

Just like most giveaways, you have to be a follower of my blog, either as an email subscriber or through bloglovin’. You can enter multiple times, and each day you can tweet about it and get one more entry.  Good luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway



FREE Editing & Revising Task Cards with QR Codes

I did it!  I finally broke down and made my first set of task cards with self-checking QR codes.  I feel like this is a void that needed to be filled, so I did it.  :)

Revising and Editing Task Cards Pic

Revising & Editing Task Cards Preview

I have uploaded them to my TpT store.  Since this is my first attempt, they are totally FREE!  Please be sure to leave me some feedback, either here on my blog or on my TpT store.  Let me know what you like, what didn’t work for you, or what you would like to see included in my next set.  I’ll be making more soon.  I’ve jumped on the task card bandwagon and can’t seem to get back off!  Haha

Here is the link to the cards:  If you don’t have a TpT account, just sign up and start downloading!  Enjoy!

I’m also linking up with TBA for their Freebie Friday…a day late.  :)



Last week, I had the amazing opportunity of going to another workshop hosted by none other than the fabulous Gretchen Bernabei. But this time, I wasn’t a “participant.” She asked me to go and show off the things my students have been doing in class. Excited? Ecstatic? Nervous? Yep. All of those things!


I had a table set up in the back of the room where I put out samples of student writing, writing folders, the grandma page, products from our thoughtshots lesson, planning pages, flip books, etc.  (If you’re curious about the story behind those, just click on them.)


Several teachers asked questions about how I was implementing all the things Gretchen talked about during her workshop into my daily routines. It was fun to answer their questions and let them know that everything they were hearing REALLY works…and that the products on the table were proof of that.

Ever gone to a workshop and wondered how in the world you would incorporate everything into your classroom? Or think to yourself, “But my kids can’t do that. The kids I work with could never…?” I find myself thinking the very same things. So I think it’s nice to have a teacher that has tried the lessons and had success there to let you in on the secrets or strategies he/she used and how it worked. And that was my job. :)


There were also times when I would chime in and show samples and talk about them to the whole group. It was lots of fun, and I feel so grateful to have such a good relationship with one of the best writing teachers ever!! I’m looking forward to more opportunities to work with her! 😉


Planning Page: Narrative or Expository

After using my other planning page I created, I realized that it was a little difficult for my students to follow.  They were able to complete it with lots of help, but I wanted something that was easy for them to remember and that they could do on their own.

I created a new planning page that is much simpler to use.  And the best part is…I can use it with all genres of writing!  Don’t you just love something versatile?  I was tired of racking my brain, trying to figure out different ways for my kids to plan their expository and narrative writing.  And then it hit me.  Hey, let’s make it the same so that kids actually remember it!!  Genius, I know.  :)

The trial run was done with a good ol’ Sharpie and white paper.  Once I knew my students would be successful with it, I put it into Word.  (Also because I can never find my copy when I need it.  Shhhh!  Don’t tell anyone I’m that unorganized!)  Now I can ALWAYS find a copy when I need one!  Magic!

Planning Page

Once my students get one filled out, I’ll post some pictures of them.  Right now, they are writing them down inside of their Writer’s Notebooks.  You see, THE test allows them 2 blank pages to plan.  I hate loathe the question, “Hey, what am I supposed to do on these blank pages?”  Ever hear that?  Makes. Me. Furious.

So…in preparation for that day, I’m having my students create this exact same planning page in their notebooks.  We will plan out many more kernel essays than we actually develop, so I figured this is a good time to start getting them into the habit of drawing them.  Then, once they pick a topic they want to write about, I will have them copy it onto the planning page and spice it up with some schesis onomaton, pitchforking, and sentence combining.  😉

Feel free to use this in your classroom, too.  You won’t be disappointed.  I know I say it all the time, but if you haven’t checked out Gretchen Bernabei’s resources, you are missing out!  She has totally changed the way I teach writing–and the way my students understand writing!  It’s not too late!  Check her out–>

To download your own copy of the file, click here.


Monday Made It

I’m linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics for her Monday Made It.


I’ve been busy looking at data and working on Anchor Charts, so I only have one item to show off this month. It’s my Lesson Frames chart that I’m using.


The administrators graciously provided us a large poster frame to use, so I accepted the offer. From there, I just put some scrapbook paper on top of some butcher paper to create three spots to write in my lesson frames. I write on top of the plastic cover with a dry erase marker so that I don’t have to change things out every week. Much more manageable!

Our campus has been reading The Fundamental 5 this year, and in the book it talks about lesson frames. Lesson frames are just that…documents that frame your lessons and give students information about what they will do and how we (the teachers) will know whether or not they “got it.” Notice the “I will” and “We will” statements. Those are key in letting students know their expectations.

I really like this idea because it reminds the students of what is being taught, as well as holds them accountable for how they will be assessed–whether it is on an exit ticket, an oral response, group work, or formal assessment.

This also helps keep me on track. I tend to get off-task at times…or go in a direction that maybe isn’t so important. It also forces us to plan with the end in mind. I have to think about how I will assess the students before ever starting the lesson…which is how it should be, right?

It’s nothing really fancy, but something that works for me. I still plan on jazzing it up a bit more, but for now that’ll have to wait. I’ve for bigger fish to fry! 😉



Friends and followers, I’m trying to get the issue with Bloglovin’ fixed.  Ever since I switched over to a self-hosted blog, my posts have not come through to Bloglovin’.  I’m hoping this is fixed with this post.  :)  Thanks for your patience!


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